Years ago I went through a very difficult time. People I loved died suddenly and God felt very far away. It was like He had forgotten and abandoned me. The cracks in my faith brought doubts of His unfailing love. I questioned the purpose and reason for my losses. My faltering strength left me weak and unable to function. Daily tasks like showering, getting the mail, cooking meals, and talking on the phone were huge tolls on my energy. “Aren’t you supposed to lift me up, God? You said I will find rest in You and that my burden would be light!”
“Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30 (NKJV)
With this scripture, I focused on finding rest and having a light burden. I overlooked the part that said, learn from Me. How else could I learn to rest during adversity unless I walked in adversity?
So, with time, I learned to listen for God’s voice and rebuke the devil when he suggested that I doubt God’s ability to help me through my pain. I claimed the promise that greater is He who is within me than He who is of this world. Sometimes, I was too weak to pray anything but the name of JESUS. I knew there was power in His name.
“You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” 1 John 4:4 (NKJV)
“By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through him that has completely healed him, as you can all see.” Acts 3:16 (NIV)
“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” Colossians 3:17 (NIV)
And God WAS gentle with me. He didn’t rebuke me for wearing pajamas all day or skipping my household chores. Instead, God whispered, Everything will be ok. Just don’t walk away. I’m with you.
Slowly, I was again able to read. I stuffed scripture into the cracks of my heart. I let the truth of God heal my wounds. The Psalms were a balm of healing. At the time, I didn’t know God was sowing seeds as well. He planted a garden in my storm and eventually it brought forth fruit.
“Its leaves were beautiful, its fruit abundant, and on it was food for all. Under it the wild animals found shelter, and the birds lived in its branches; from it every creature was fed.” Daniel 4:12 (NIV)
“It had been planted in good soil by abundant water so that it would produce branches, bear fruit and become a splendid vine.” Ezekiel 17:8 (NIV)
The word of God does not return void. It accomplishes much. Although I had many cracks in my wounded heart, God’s living Word filled them up and brought healing. Patiently, the gardener of my soul, the almighty God, watered the seeds planted during my sorrow. Under His watchful eye, they grew into something beautiful. Storms of adversity bring forth a beauty that other seasons can’t. The struggle, the longing, the brokenness produced a new tenaciousness and fearless faith within my heart. I am learning to welcome adversity for I know it produces perseverance and greater dependence on God. Faith grows when it is tested. I don’t enjoy sorrow and pain but I do welcome opportunities to know more of my God and His faithfulness.
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:2-4 (NIV)